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The first spectroscopic study of radium monofluoride suggests that the radioactive molecule could be used to perform high precision tests of the Standard Model of particle physics. The study was done by an international team of physicists working in the ISOLDE lab at CERN and could lead to a new upper limit being place on the electric dipole moment of the electron – which could help explain why there is much more matter than antimatter in the universe.

Atomic and molecular spectroscopy allows physicists to make extremely precise measurements of some fundamental properties of both electrons and nuclei. As a result, spectroscopy offers a way of determining whether a particle like the electron conforms to the Standard Model of particle physics.

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Category: Science